Talk:Suspension of disbelief

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Curently, this article looks to be almost completely original or uncited research. If you're going to add something (EG: MGS2), cite it! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:58, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

I second that - and moreover i'd suggest the article is generally so badly written that it wouldnt hurt to tear the whole thing down and start from scratch. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 29 August 2012 (UTC)


I have a strong impression of having previously seen it quoted only as "willing suspension of disbelief". Am i mistaken, and if not, doesn't this title need to become a redir to that? --Jerzy(t) 17:55, 2005 Jan 18 (UTC)

I've never seen it referred to as anything other than just "suspension of disbelief". I don't have my old A-level psychology text books to hand, but I'll look it up in there when I do. Thryduulf 18:16, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I remember it from my english literature texts in high school (I'm from Italy) as willful suspension of disbelief... so yes, apparently just "suspension of disbelief" will suffice. - ephestione 30 jan 2016 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
"Willing SoD" is indeed the original Coleridge term. "SoD" is an abbreviation, but like Google shows is the common form these days, usually used by people who have no idea what a Coleridge is.
In fact I think Coleridge uses it but Aristotle used it first in the Poetics, it is in Greek and can easily be found by consulting the original, my memory is a little vague here but I think it is Willing Suspension of Disbelief which Aristotle posits as being neccesary for the observer to enjoy Greek tragedies, one of those old ideas that is constantly re-invented.... - Dan E. 4/14/2007
This is not correct. Aristotle does not use the term in the Poetics nor any comparable term. Although other writers on during the late 17th and 18th centuries (Diderot comes to mind) suggest similar ideas, Coleridge is the first to use the term. DionysosProteus 04:53, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes.--Straw Cat 13:15, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
And speaking of which, won't it be appropriate to have a short section about the origin of the phrase? 15:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes. Done.--Straw Cat 14:53, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

My impression is probably mistaken, and yours may well be correct. Googling:

  • 158K "suspension of disbelief "
  • 24K "willing suspension of disbelief "

which is over 6:1 and requiring mention of "Coleridge" narrows the ratio only a little:

  • 4300
  • 993

(about 4:1) STC did include willing (tho i haven't looked for his complete works, to show he never omitted it!), but as to the name, i think it should probably stand as it is. Tnx.
--Jerzy(t) 15:31, 2005 Jan 19 (UTC)

I disagree. The "willing" is the point. Coleridge was talking about the distancing created by the reader's knowledge that what he or she experiences from reading is the effect of words and not the actual reality of situations, characters, actions, and so on. One might argue that "suspension" implies "willingness," but deleting "willing" from the title erases the reader's agency. <Pscisco (talk) 23:04, 20 July 2010 (UTC)>


Rokyhot01 (talk) 19:09, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Doctor Who[edit]

I just noticed that the Doctor Who reference doesn't work that well anymore with the introduction of the new series. That's not low-budget or cheesy by any standards—except when intentionally in homage to the earlier series. 22:34, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The "Doctor Who" shows were not all the same. Not only are the Doctors completely different at different times, but the whole appearance of the show has changed during its history. Therefore, one cannot speak of the show as though it is one unchanging presentation. The article was referring to the early shows which presented notoriously inexpensive and unconvincing special effects and stage props.Lestrade (talk) 15:51, 25 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

This of course is referring to the Pre-2005 revival of DW. Some episodes during that time, did have "cheesy"(low-rent) effects and costumes for the aliens. With the advent of CGI and better costume design DW has become less cheesy. Andy_Howard (talk) 03:44, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


Is it really necessary to devote so much space to the subject of Superman? This article is about suspension of disbelief, and the two-some paragraphs devoted to the super hero seem inappropriate.


"On the other hand, the audience did not sign on for obtuseness bordering on mental deficiency by a half-dozen main characters and therefore this violates the original deal."

This right there is a nonsensical logic. There is an explanation for Superman's powers, namely that he's from Krypton which has a superior molecular structure and he's an alien etc..

That nobody recognizes his face, on the other hand, is NOT explained. If it were (e.g. Superman eradiates a hypnotic aura etc.), the audience would accept it.

Someone remove this weak logic from the article.



I think that using predominantly sci-fi and fantasy examples represents a misunderstanding of the concept. Almost all narrative entertainment requires a willing suspension of disbelief--- for example, movies depend on the audience "agreeing" to pretend there is not a camera in the room. In plays, we all agree to pretend there is a fourth wall, or that for some reason nobody laughs when something funny is said. Though the phrase was coined in the context of romantic ideas, it became an important idea because EVERY work of drama is stylized in one way or another. BarkingDoc 21:55, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

IMHO you are describing the more general mechanics of participating in any "Vicarious Experience", not SoD. Unlike all other genres, Science Fiction absolutely requires SoD - you might as well call it "Suspension of Disbelief-Fiction" - and has largely co-opted the term. To say "This is ridiculous", and walk out of the theater, is very different from, "They can't do that now, but someday...". The Superman example above is high-profile, but not elegant - the "explanation" for his earthly super-powers has not aged well. On the other hand HAL from Kubrick's "2001..." remains compelling after almost 40 years. As an entertainment consumer I much prefer to accept plausible extrapolations of current technology than repeatedly swallow the action hero's victory against almost impossible odds. Without the Sci-Fi component "Neo" fighting Agents ("Matrix" franchise) is Batman. --OmarFirestone 15:20, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps the article should start with the aspects of suspension of disbelief involved with the theater, and with fiction in general (for instance, that a first-person narrator can accurately remember and relate the exact words of a hundred-odd conversations they were involved in; or more generally, dialogue that doesn't sound like the way people really talk (e.g., unusually low incidence of hesitation particles (um, uh, hm...) and high proportion of complete sentences)) and then move on to sf and fantasy examples? --Jim Henry 11:30, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I also have a big problem with examples. I don't believe that a character instantly dies when they hit the water, when that happens I'm taken completely out the story (which from the game perspective is intentional). Suspension of disbelief really more refers to something like: "I know aliens don't exist, but this movie portrays aliens invading earth, so i'll believe that these aliens exist" Then when the special effects are particularly bad, and we can tell that the aliens are fake, then it is said to ruin our suspension of disbelief. I think this article needs a re-write. (talk) 11:37, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

The StarTrek example is full of abbreviations that people who haven't watched the show would have difficulty identifying. 14:39, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Question: What is "CV" in reference to the Simpson's example? It's not used or defined earlier in the article.

Disputed Examples in modern forms of entertainment[edit]

These "examples" are nothing but personal opinions. You don't find the Superman/Clark Kent dichotomy logical, but perhaps I do.

Such sentences are not factual and not helpful:

  • One of the most-well known examples of suspension of disbelief is the acceptance that the iconic superhero, Superman, hides his identity from the world by simply donning a pair of glasses, wearing conservative clothing, and acting in a "mild mannered" fashion, which contrasts with the large and in-charge personality of Superman.
  • Not only is the disguise so thin as to be ridiculous

The entire section is written in this manner and it doesn't help convey what suspension of belief is.Bantosh 21:49, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Suspension of disbelief is a subjective phenomenon and therefore any discussion of examples will be to a certain extent a matter of personal opinion. The point of the section is to discuss examples that have been noted by many to require suspension of disbelief by the audience to be enjoyed. For example, the Superman/Clark Kent issue is given a lot of space because most of us can recognize our friends and acquaintances regardless of the clothing they are wearing. That the characters don't make the connection, decade after decade, is something that many people have a hard time believing. Therefore, they must suspend this disbelief so that it doesn't distract from their enjoyment of the story. The other examples follow in the same vein.CarlosTakeshi 23:49, 25 October 2006 (PDT)

(To add to your point, there is a more fundamental suspension of disbelief in that such a character could actually exist, a person that could fly, etc... is a pretty big pill to swallow, let alone the fact that nobody ever recognizes him, and many more (talk) 11:39, 16 October 2009 (UTC))

"Another major example of suspended disbelief was The Flintstones cartoon series. The characters have televisions, cars, telephones, and various appliances that would be powered by electricity in modern society, The show was set in "prehistoric" times and there was no mention of electricity."

This is misleading and incorrect. Flintstones appliances, such as telephones, kitchen garbage disposals, telephones, et cetera, were generally powered not by electricity, but by simple mechanical means (pulleys, for example), or more often, by fictional prehistoric creatures working inside the machine. This was, in fact, occasionally mentioned in the show, for example, with one of the creatures making a comic aside to the audience about the difficulty of its job. While this explanation is obviously silly and unrealistic, it is quite sufficient for a comedy cartoon show, and was even deliberately used as an element of comedy.

Automobiles were powered in a way that does not even require a great deal of suspension of disbelief-- characters powered them by putting their legs through holes in the bottoms and actually running on the ground to propel the cars forward. Again, this was itself intended as humour.

Willing suspension of disbelief is certainly necessary while watching The Flintstones, but not for the reasons mentioned in the article.

Additionally, the examples from video games do not seem to be well-explained in my opinion. It is necessary in certain video games to add unrealistic dangers to a game landscape in order to challenge the player. In such video games it is considerably easier to accept as the game is, in this case, understood to be *a game*-- in which the world is governed by certain arbitrary rules. While playing chess, players are obliged to accept that a playing piece which resembles a tower (an inanimate and unmoveable object) can not only move and interact with human pieces, but actually kill them. This would probably be viewed as absurd in a film or book, but in a game, it is perfectly acceptable. This may certainly be considered a form of suspension of disbelief, but to use it as such, more explanation is required. (talk) 17:58, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Aristotle's Poetics[edit]

And here is a nice little summary of Aristotle's Poetics I found on the web at

Not that Willingness is key in Aristotle's analysis as the audience must participate....

Drama Lecture Notes

Drama originated in ancient Greece as a religious festival to the god Dionysius, the god of wine, music, and fertility. At first no dramatic actors were used; the players wore masks and described whom they were representing. Thespis, the first actor, "became" the character he portrayed. In doing so, much of the action shifted from the chorus to the actions and speeches of the individual characters.

In most plays the audience participates through its "willing suspension of disbelief." The audience knows what it is watching is not real but suspends that disbelief during the actual performance. One force that enables the audience to suspend its disbelief is the "fourth wall": the notion that the audience is watching what occurs through an invisible wall that separates the actors on stage from the theater-goers in their seats.

These basic conventions are not iron-clad and more modern and contemporary plays and playwrights purposely try to break down the fourth wall and/or to interfere with the willing suspension of disbelief. Thorton Wilder in Our Town, for instance, uses a character called the "Stage Manager" to directly speak to the audience as if he really were the stage manager and not a character in the play.

Many conventions in plays can be traced back to the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle and the ideas he presented in a series of lectures entitled the Poetics. Aristotle outlined what he believed were the six most important elements of drama. Many playwrights and critics still adhere to the basic premises Aristotle outlines, but even in Aristotle's day not everyone followed his precepts. The six major elements listed below appear in their order of importance.

1) Plot: Aristotle said plot is the "life and soul of tragedy." Plot consists of the arrangement of parts into a consistent and logical pattern that links the actions into an indivisible chain. Plots have varied from the simple, tightly knit structure of Greek tragedy, to the loose episodes of Medieval drama, to the complicated action of the Elizabethans, to the naturalists' attempts to avoid all semblance of structure, to contemporary absurdists' plays with little attempt for disciplined structure.

Despite these differences, plots are usually arranged to produce a cumulative effect that gives the play tension and emotional momentum. Aristotle said that plot consists of nine basic elements.

  • 1) Exposition: In the beginning of the play, the playwright must show who the major characters are, what their relationship is to one another, what motivates them, and usually some aspect of the environment.
  • 2) Discovery and Reversal: In revealing the characters' motivations and objectives and their relationships and feelings, the dramatist must also invent and organize a series of interesting and compelling discoveries about the characters that cause for the characters and/or the audience to have a change in attitude about the characters. Such discoveries can also change the play's course of action.
  • 3) Point of Attack: This is the moment in the play when the precipitating force sets the mechanism into motion. Whatever equilibrium that exists when the play opens is disturbed, turbulence results, and a period of adjustment begins. Thus, without the point of attack, there would be no play.
  • 4) Foreshadowing: The playwright makes subsequent action credible by supplying carefully inserted clues in the early parts of the play.
  • 5) Complication: A complication is any new force introduced into the play which affects the direction of the course of action. The point of attack is the first complication.
  • 6) Crisis: A crisis is a time of decision, a turning point, or a crossroads when a character is forced to make a decision. It involves a clash of interests.
  • 7) Climax: The climax is the culmination of the course of action. In some ways most plays are a series of climaxes until the major climax is reached and the emotional impact of the play reaches its highest point.
  • 8) Denouement: The denouement or conclusion is the ending of the play and provides the final resolution. The denouement restores some order and unifies and completes the course of the action. It usually answers some, but not necessarily all, remaining questions the audience has.
  • 9) Unities: There are three unities--time, place, and action. Aristotle felt a play's action should last no longer than twenty-four hours. Playwrights have rarely abided by this restriction consistently, but the action of most plays is typically confined to a short space of time. Similarly, the place of a play should be limited to one location, and dramatists generally concentrate the action in order to keep the focus clear. By action, Aristotle meant dramas should deal with a single course of events involving little or no extraneous material. Obviously, this notion of action varies from play to play.

2) Character: Aristotle argued characters in plays must be simplified (but not necessarily simple) with their qualities made clear in a few telling scenes. Generally, audiences learn about characters in four ways in drama:

  • 1) Appearance: The character's physical qualities, including dress.
  • 2) Speech: The kind of language the character employs, as well as the manner of speaking, voice quality, etc.
  • 3) External Actions: What characters do which reveal clues as to their inner motivation.
  • 4) What Others Say: What other characters say about a character and the way in which they react to this character.

3) Thought: Aristotle called this the reasoning aspect of drama. Generally speaking this means that plays are not objective debates with factual information presented followed by logical, clear decisions. Rather, characters in plays make subjective decisions under pressure while they are enmeshed in webs of conflicting, emotional entanglements.

4) Diction: Diction consists of the language of the play. The words actors speech must be believable given the context of the play. Diction does not mean, however, the language of all plays is realistic.

5) Music: Music refers to all auditory material of a play, including sound effects and the tonal patterns of the spoken words.

6) Spectacle: Spectacle refers to all visual aspects of the production, including scenery, lighting, costumes, makeup, and movements on stage.

Aristotle felt all of these elements make drama and/or tragedy valuable because through the willing suspension of disbelief they provide the audience a catharsis, a purging of emotions. Audience members are able to experience the emotions (fear, disgust, revulsion, joy, etc.) of the "tragic hero" and to gain understanding of life from this experience without, however, having to actually endure the troubling events the tragic hero suffers through.

Dan E. 4/14/2007

The trouble with this reference is that it's not a genuine citation, but rather a college student's gloss. Aristotle doesn't use this term or idea. The idea that tragedy produces a 'purgation' is a Renaissance gloss on catharsis. Modern interpretations (Else, for example) contest the idea that catharsis works in this way at all - and in either case, 'WSDB' isn't part of the process. This is an anachronism. DionysosProteus 05:03, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Note -- I have reformatted the pasted comment to make reading easier. I did not delete anything other than whitespace, and I did not add anything other than bullets. -- (talk) 17:25, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Issues with self-reference[edit]

"This action would seem to challenge the audience's suspension of disbelief, which would according to the theory make the audience unable to enjoy the fiction."

In a previous example, concerning game mechanics, the suspension is required for overlooking conventions equal to self-references... someone telling a character to press a button is stepping out of the fictional universe just as is a character addressing the audience.

Wouldn't you need the suspension of disbelief to overlook this detail that actually makes you disbelieve?

Again, fallacious logic. Someone change it, it's wrong and misleading.

    • Shouldn't then you include any film which states that (along the lines of) 'the events in this film are based on a true events, etc', such as The Great Escape, Titanic or Munich? Colt .55 (talk) 12:54, 7 July 2011 (UTC)


Also Armageddon, where Max says to a doctor holding a large syringe "Ever see Pulp Fiction?" which also stars Bruce Willis -Kinkify 01:40, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

The problem with the canon-puncturing example is that you don't need to be a fictional person to appear in fiction. Consider Forrest Gump, for example. Lots of real people interacting with fictional characters. Steve Urkel could be a "real person" in Step by Step and a "real person starring as himself" in Full House, when seen from the perspective of the Step by Step characters.

recognizing celebrities - not so sure about that one[edit]

In the "Friends" example it's mentioned that it's a violation to have Bruce Willis mentioned as an actor and then to have him appear playing someone else. I disagree. There are many instances where people can be said to look like one another - and of course, there is the old adage that everyone has a twin.

You could argue that the characters must suspend their own disbelief :-) However, I think there should be no problem separating the character from the actor in this instance, becasue to the original characters, this guest star is simply someone who wuld draw a, "Hey, ydid anyone ever tell you you look like 'Bruce Willis?'" he would not have to be Bruce Willis. Therefore, I think someone should at least make a comment about how this is not necessarily a criticism of the theory.

What about Star Trek IV? People in Los Angeles in 1986 would have said, "Hey, you look like Captain Kirk!". Or in Star Trek First Contact, when Cochrane says, "You're...on some sort of star trek." -- (talk) 17:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that the people have to see a resemblance between the characters and the real actors, since inside the world of the fiction the actors could look completely different, or in the case of Star Trek, the series do not even have to exist. Actually it has not to exist as someone would recognize that the evolution of history is very close to that described in the series and it would be foreseeing the future. This alone would be a very important event in the fiction world and it would change it completely, therefore creating a contradiction.

I think for the Friends example, to have them mention Bruce Willis and then to have him show up playing someone else, it could work if when he first appeared there was a big laugh track and applause, he said a few lines and then left. There we would have an intentional breaking of suspension of disbelief. It would make sense because Bruce Willis is such a well known character, that we can't suspend disbelief when we see him. For example, a character that you've seen as a good guy time and time again, you can't see them as a bad guy because you aren't willing to believe it, you are not willing to suspend your disbelief because that actor is a good guy to you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:44, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm afraid none of these examples of stars appearing at themselves or as characters in worlds where they should be "recognized" really hold up, except as possible examples that prove the usual role of suspension of disbelief in fictional narratives. In Friends, for example, the basic suspension of disbelief is located in the fact that these individuals live in two amazing apartments in Greenwich Village, seem unable to hold proper relationships with anyone outside the core group and don't have any black friends. If I didn't suspend my usual critical response to these situations, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the show. Bruce Willis appearing is more of a postmodern flourish than anything else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:41, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Criticism of the theory[edit]

However, many of these criticisms simply fail to notice that Coleridge's original statement came in a restrictive clause. The formulation "...that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic faith," of necessity implies that there are different sorts of suspension of disbelief and specifies that poetic faith is one instance of a larger class. One need not choose to believe that a character in a horror film is a real person in order, for example, to choose to believe that the character is looking at the building seen in the following reverse-shot. More often than not, both beliefs would be equally false.

This seems like a defense that shouldn't be in a neutral article, but I'm far too ignorant of the subject to want to change it myself --Abyaly 20:10, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

I see this defense as appropriate because a description of the theory should include a response to such criticisms, because if the theory can't account for them it should be rejected. I think it is somewhat lacking in neutrality, though, and that can be restored by changing the first sentence to something like: "However, one arguing for the theory might reply that many of these criticisms simply fail to notice that Coleridge's original statement came in a restrictive clause." That changes the source of the defense from the article to the theory itself and its proponents. —Preceding unsigned comment added by CarlosTakeshi (talkcontribs) 10:12, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Hilary Clinton[edit]

the line "It’s interesting that Hillary would chose such words to call a four star General a liar." doesnt seem necessary to me. BelalHaniffa 10:51, 18 October 2007 (UTC) Looks like the line was rightfully removed from the article ( (talk) 11:54, 16 October 2009 (UTC))

It was indeed, and rightfully so. However, when I came to this article the paragraph on Clinton's usage of the term was completely vague. It didn't say who she was talking about, when she said it, or what she was referring to. I think we can do that without becoming nasty and unencyclopedic (and besides, there were also no references), so I gave it a go. I provided the New York Sun article (which apparently is what Huffington post was using as reference at the time)and to a site that has the excerpt from CSPAN where she starts talking. CSPAN seems to have the whole hearing on their website, too, but I will have to watch a lot of video to find where it is. Basically I googled Hillary Clinton and the term to find out what this article was talking about, and guessed that was the incident in question. I guess the removed line confirms the origin. If I find the original CSPAN video we can try that instead for citation ... hopefully I at least got my fields right. Rifter0x0000 (talk) 21:48, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Snake's stunts in The Twin Snakes[edit]

"(due to graphical limitations during the time)"

I'm fairly sure this is quite incorrect; From what I've heard, the reason for his stunts in TTS is a different animation director, who, IIRC, was a huge fan of The Matrix; Kojima supposedly even rejected some of his first cutscenes.

Can anyone find a reliable source for this? Tubba Blubba (talk) 21:24, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Video Games[edit]

Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't see what "breaking the fourth wall" has got to do with the issue at hand in the paragraph on video games. Discordia23 (talk) 16:34, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Space as a vaccum[edit]

This is a commonly heard phrase, but is it true? I somehow doubt that space is a vacum, and, anyway, most space battles take place near objects of interest (How else are people going to find each other?), and these objects might have lose particles around them, allowing sound to be transmitted. It seems un encyclopedic to put up an example like that, unless you can prove it.......... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Crakker (talkcontribs) 18:28, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Sound is caused by wave pressure through AIR (oxygen nigrogen etc...) Since space is a vaccum, no air = no sound. Think Alien_(movie) "In space no one can hear you scream". This fact is well known if you had done a bit of research BEFORE you posted. (talk) 15:31, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
It isn't really necessary to adopt an insulting tone and to be so dismissive particularly as like many "well known facts", this one isn't a "fact". Space is not a perfect vacuum. QU TalkQu 15:35, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Wasn't intended to be a negative tone but this is a "fact". Perfect vacuum or not, it's close enough. If you think Im wrong, please explain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Scarcely credible[edit]

In two films, Terror by Night and Voice of Terror, the device is used of having the identity of Watson's school chum become an important part of the story. Is it possible for a person to mistake a former close acquaintance or even a former mate? Aging changes people's appearance, voice, and behavior, but a fundamental identity is usually recognized. Sommersby and The Return of Martin Guerre try to make this credible. These are cases in which Coleridge's willing suspension of disbelief might be necessary if the film is to be tolerated as entertainment.Lestrade (talk) 04:24, 25 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


What about the fact that in the show Lost, the male characters NEVER grow beards despite the fact that they've been stuck for God-knows how many months on the island? (Even Matthew Fox showed up one season with a new haircut). And the fact that Hurley doesn't seem to have lost a single pound since the beginning of the show in spite of the fact that he's probably living on a diet mostly consisting of berries and fish and the manual labor he has to do in order to survive? That is a serious case of suspension of disbelief that could be added in the article. --Crackthewhip775 (talk) 07:18, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Male characters in Lost usually sporting beards: Michael, Mr Eko, Sawyer, Desmond, Sayid, Charlie, Paulo, Hurley, Miles...are you sure you weren't watching Charlie's Angels? (talk) 20:16, 23 September 2009 (UTC)


I think to some extent "suspension of disbelief" refers to "plausibility within the constraints defined by a combination of the actually existing context #and# the fictional representation presented" - and there has to be a degree of plausibility in the combination. It is when there is a blatent discontinuety that the problems arise (eg ignoring basic health and safety or relatives 'appearing out of nowhere' and automatically accepted) Jackiespeel (talk) 18:40, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Some effort really needs to be made to differentiate the aesthetic concept of 'suspension of disbelief' from a more social practice by some of 'choosing to ignore anything that breaks credulity in a work for the sake of enjoying the work'. These two usages are not at all the same, and I don't think a 'descriptive' account on the wiki page of how people are using the phrase in the loosest, most sophomoric ways without discussing that problem is really doing anyone any good. 73mmmm —Preceding undated comment added 00:58, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

The Office[edit]

Some TV mockumentaries are more entertaining because they do not have as much suspension of disbelief (for example The Office) --Matthew Bauer (talk) 02:54, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Faith and religion[edit]

Shouldn't we include a section on religious faith? Many would consider the sacred books just as an example of literature, but this view is not true for some believers of the supernatural. Faith can be considered a special and important example of suspension of disbelief in the sense that the natural requirement of evidence is suppressed and the ideas are are not questioned.

I think one of the key aspects of "suspension of disbelief" is that the viewer should actually know that what they're watching or reading is unrealistic, but can enjoy it anyway. If someone actually believes in The New Testament, he's doesn't require suspension of disbelief when he reads it, because it's in line with his beliefs, the same way that people who believe in ghosts may not require it for a show like Ghost Hunters. Knowing that it is unrealistic is important. So in a way for a nonbeliever, enjoying narratives in sacred books would require suspension of disbelief Brc2000 (talk) 14:19, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

In religion suspension of disbelief is called wilful ignorance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:26, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Films and books based on True Stories/Events[edit]

Shouldn't you include any film which states that (along the lines of) 'the events in this film are based on a true events, etc', such as The Great Escape, Titanic or Munich? Colt .55 (talk) 12:58, 7 July 2011 (UTC)


I added a small paragraph to the lead, re: magic / sideshow acts. There should be a section, perhaps 'Performance' under 'In popular culture' section which expands on this. There presumably are other examples of 'Performance art' or whatever that could be included. ~Eric F (talk) 19:35, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Merge 'Central conceit'[edit]

At the moment, there is a lonely little article hardly discussing 'central conceit'. I suggest that topic be moved here, perhaps as a section or whatever. I defer to editors more familiar with these types of articles.--→gab 24dot grab← 20:16, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

These two ideas seem to me to have nothing to do with each other. "Suspension of disbelief" has to do with the audience's state of mind. "Central conceit" has to do with an interpretation of the test or work of art.Reeve 13:45, 26 June 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Normholland (talkcontribs)

Video Games[edit]

Seriously though, most of the video games stuff is useless and unhelpful here. VelvetCommuter (talk) 20:55, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Terrible article[edit]

Few citations, much of it opinion or essay style. I removed a chunk of text, and will rebuild from there. Harizotoh9 (talk) 02:21, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Good. It was becoming necessary to suspend disbelief that this was Wikipedia or had anything to do with Coleridge's concept. Straw Cat (talk) 16:21, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Removed Politics and Popular Culture sections[edit]

These examples had questionable relevance, gave undue weight to subjects unrelated to this article, and did little to help explain the concept. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Circus Example and Examples in Literature Section[edit]

Hi! I went ahead and removed an example of circus acts being an example of suspension of disbelief from the content section. The example felt out of place and unsubstantiated. I know this article has had a history of adding and removing specific examples of literary and media figures that require suspension of disbelief to engage with, but I do not feel that a this page needs to be responsible for an encompassing list of all the media which requires a suspension of disbelief to enjoy (that would be a long list!). I also condensed the black-and-white film example into a short sentence after a description of SoD's role in visual media. Before, the example was unnecessarily detailed and contained repetitive information.

It might be in our best interest to refrain from providing specific examples as the breadth of SoD is incredibly far-reaching. With this comes the question of if we should remove the section on "Examples in Literature"? Right now there is only a single example, and although it may be fitting, it is without citation for being an actual possible nod to SoD. I think if we cannot provide more examples, the page might be better off without it. That is, of course, a larger decision to make so I would appreciate hearing if anyone agrees or disagrees with that idea!! Mattt1235 (talk) 05:47, 6 March 2020 (UTC)